About a month or so ago, I was graciously gifted two tickets to attend the Healthy Food Happy Wallet Conference in St. Louis. Since eating healthy is a top priority of mine and saving money is very important to me (hello, I’m a teacher!), I knew this workshop would be right up my alley! Whole Foods was a generous sponsor who provided a delicious lunch. I filled my plate, then went for seconds. Afterall, it was healthy!
Of course, I had to sample a little bit of everything! From their chicken salad roll-ups to their vegetarian options and hummus and falafel and more – it was all SO GOOD! I mean what do you expect, itz Whole Foods! (WF has a wonderful catering menu where this food can be found.) Big thanks to Whole Foods Galleria and Whole Foods Town and Country for this tasty meal!
While I can’t possibly relay all of the information that the conference included, I’ll give you a recap of what I found most beneficial.
1. Eat local! Sign up to participate in a local CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Maude from Maude’s Market spoke at the event, and she runs a fabulous CSA program here in St. Louis. You pay a set price each month for a box filled with fresh produce grown locally. Not only is this a wonderful way to try new fruits and vegetables, but you get the best of the best. Each box is filled with whatever is in season, so it’s incredibly fresh. Plus, you’re supporting your community and you know where the food is coming from. Shopping at your local Farmer’s Markets is another cost saving tactic.
2. Use coupons! Jennifer from Healthy Life Deals has it all figured out. I definitely recommend checking out her website for tons of tips and tricks on using coupons and getting the most bang for your buck. She scopes out the weekly deals and coupons and posts them on her blog. Some of the key points Jennifer made were:
- Become familiar with coupons and don’t be afraid to use them. Every little bit of savings help and add up!
- Buy loose produce instead of pre-packaged and pre-cut. There is a significant difference in price here.
- Scope out when the deals are. Whole Foods has huge sales on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Take advantage of store sales! (Remember when these kabobs were on sale? Amazing savings!!)
- Bring your own shopping bags! Whole Foods gives you 10 cents off each bag you bring (or you can donate that money). Again, every little bit counts!
- Decide when to buy organic since it is more expensive. Consider the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15″ list.
Obviously, a lot of this has to do with personal preference and opinion, but for me, I do find this guide useful. I think itz important to consider foods you eat often. Jonny and I both eat apples on a regular basis and since they’re on the dirty dozen list, I tend to buy organic. Just something to think about!
3. Buy in bulk! Most of the time, buying in bulk is significantly less expensive. Buying in bulk does NOT mean you have to buy bulk amounts! There was a very helpful chart that was shown during the conference:
As you can see, itz much less expensive. I love the bulk bins at Whole Foods because it allows me to try new foods at a lower cost and smaller portion (until I learn if I’ll like/use it). I buy nutritional yeast, wheat germ, some flours, and various types of beans in bulk on a regular basis from Whole Foods, but it really is fun to try new things!
4. Buy a cow! Seriously. One of the speakers was from rural Missouri and talked about how she and a few other friends literally buy a cow from one of their neighbors. Split four ways, it ends up being an amazing deal. I think it was around $400 for 100 pounds of beef. While $400 sounds like a lot of money (it is!), for 100 pounds of beef, that works out to four dollars per pound!
Factor in that they know exactly where the cow is coming from, itz treated humanely, insanely fresh (it freezes well when packaged correctly so it lasts a long time), and includes all cuts of beef.
Moo! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. While this idea is awesome, itz not very practical for Jonny and myself. I like the idea, and there were several people in the workshop (who live in St. Louis) who shared that they do buy whole cows! They recommended the website: Missouri Grass Fed Beef as a resource.
Another highlight of the conference? Frostbite Gourmet Ice Cream was a sponsor and passed out samples after lunch.
You know I loved mine! (I’m still loving and rocking my Freemotion jacket!)
What tips do you have for eating healthy on a budget?
Disclaimer: While I was provided tickets to the event free of charge, I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.